- Datsun Z-Series(1562)
The Datsun 240Z got a lot of things right when it was introduced, with handsome styling, strong performance and a reasonably affordable price. And while the coupes grew a strong fan base in the US, they remained quite a rarity in the UK. Decades later, a father and son in England have latched onto the car and bonded over their shared love for two completely opposite takes on this Japanese GT
There's already quite a collection of exotics in Mel Streek's garage, and his rat rod 240Z, which he calls the Ratsun, definitely doesn't fit with the rest. On the outside, the Datsun looks ready to fall apart, but it's mechanically perfect underneath. Alternatively, Mel's son, Ollie, has a completely different take for his Z with its perfect, shining paint.
Both Zs sound amazing, though. They have a mechanical, somewhat course exhaust note that's intoxicating to hear. You can definitely tell there's some work going on under the hood. Check out this video from Petrolicious for a father and son who both find something to love in these classic Japanese coupes.
When Tata introduced the Nano back in 2008, everyone was amazed at how cheap it was. They called it a game changer, but no game was changed. In fact, it took Tata five years to sell the 250,000 units it had the capacity to build in a single year. As it turns out, even buyers in what economists call "developing markets" like India aren't necessarily interested in buying an ultra-cheap automobile. And now it appears that Nissan may be falling into the same trap.
A little over a year ago, Nissan revived its old moniker Datsun to serve as a budget brand - similar to what ally Renault did with Dacia. Its lineup (consisting of models like the Go hatchback, Go+ minivan, On-Do sedan and Mi-Do hatch) is largely based on old architecture, packaged with little more than basic equipment and sold at rock-bottom prices. But Bloomberg reports that, even in the brand's core markets like India and Indonesia, the new Datsuns haven't been selling.
According to local industry figures, Datsun has sold fewer than 10,000 units of its $5,100 Go hatchbacks in India since its introduction back in March. Maruti Suzuki, by comparison, sells twice that many of its similarly priced Alto hatchbacks every month. In fact, after peaking in April, Datsun only sold 607 units in India this past July, dipping 77 percent to drop below even the number of Nanos which Tata sold that month.
There's an evergreen debate among auto enthusiasts about whether they would prefer to have the latest and greatest car of today or a certified classic from yesteryear. What if you had to further define that, though, and the choice was between a brand new 2015 Subaru Legacy or a turbocharged Datsun 240Z with a hatch that wouldn't close? Roadkill aimed to find out that and more in one of its best videos to date.
According to the hosts, Subaru came to them, handed over some money and challenged Roadkill's project cars against its latest Legacy. The result is every bit as good (or better) than any automotive-themed show you could find on television.
Things start simple with a figure-eight race in a rodeo arena with the Subaru taking on Roadkill's 1968 Ford Ranchero, originally built for ice racing. From there the Legacy races a 1968 Dodge Charger with no windows around and off-road rally stage. Finally, the Subie goes head-to-head against the Rotsun, the aforementioned turbocharged 240Z, through an abandoned neighborhood. Plus, there's a bonus drag race challenging them all.
Those who were disappointed when Datsun changed its name to Nissan over three decades ago may have been pleased to see the marque revived last year, even as a budget brand. Nissan's counterpart to its ally Renault's Dacia budget brand, Datsun has been steadily expanding its lineup of low-cost transportation for developing markets with the debut of the Go hatchback in India, the Go+ minivan in Indonesia and the On-Do sedan in Russia. And now it has returned to Moscow to reveal its fourth model, the Mi-Do.
Based closely on the On-Do sedan (which itself is based on the Lada Granta) the Mi-Do takes on a five-door hatchback bodystyle but with no more frills. It uses the same front-drive chassis with the same wheelbase as the sedan, but its chopped tail makes it a good foot and a half shorter overall. Into that compact shape, Datsun has fitted dual airbags, ABS and... well, that's about it. It's got a 1.6-liter, eight-valve inline-four kicking out a grand total of 87 horsepower to either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. Bare bones, this is.
While delivery of the first On-Do sedans commences next month (with the first example going to an IT specialist in Omsk), the Mi-Do is set to begin delivery early next year. Scope out the video and press release below from the Mi-Do's reveal at the Moscow Motor Show.
When Nissan revived the Datsun brand name, it essentially hit the "undo" button on the rebranding it undertook decades ago. But this time, the Datsun name is being used solely as a budget brand for developing markets. The reborn marque launched in India this past July with its Go hatchback, returned in September with the Go+ minivan and revealed the Redi-Go concept just last month. And now it's back again with the new On-Do sedan.
Launched in Moscow by CEO Carlos Ghosn, the On-Do was designed and engineered in Japan specifically for the Russian market - Nissan's fifth largest worldwide - where it will be built at the AvtoVaz plant in Togliatti. Decidedly budget-oriented, the Datsun On-Do is a four-door, five-seat econo-box measuring 172 inches long, 67 inches wide and 60 inches tall with an 18.7 cubic-foot trunk which Datsun describes as class-leading. Punctuating an otherwise bland shape is a large front grille and lighting front and rear that looks (and very well might be) bigger than the wheels.
Not that the Datsun On-Do needs a big contact patch to transfer power to the road: motivation is provided by a 1.6-liter engine with a grand total of - wait for it... wait a little longer - 87 horsepower. Which might strike you as a reasonable amount of muscle, considering the 400,000 rubles Datsun is getting for the On-Do (but consider that translates to about $11,300). That's a couple grand more than what Nissan gets for the Micra in that other giant northern country, or about the same amount it gets for the Versa in the US (which sells in Russia for 499k in rubles) - both of which are powered by what is in all likelihood the same 1.6-liter four but producing 109 hp. Of course Russia has different tax rates than the United States or Canada, but with such little power, the Datsun would fall into Russia's lowest tax bracket.
Nobody does cars on the cheap quite like the Renault-Nissan Alliance. The former part of the equation already has its Dacia brand of cost-effective, no-frills vehicles that have become a favorite of Top Gear co-host James May, and last summer, the latter revived its Datsun nameplate for a budget brand of its own.
The reborn Datsun launched in India this past July with its Go hatchback, returned in September with the Go+ minivan and revealed the Redi-Go concept just last month. And now it's given us our first look at an upcoming budget sedan developed specifically for the Russian market.
The as-yet unnamed vehicle (which we'll bet will incorporate the word "go" into its nameplate somehow) is set to debut on April 4, where it will launch the Datsun brand in Russia. Few details are available at this point, but the low-cost sedan was designed in Japan to offer Russian drivers "an engaging driving experience, peace of mind ownership and accessibility at the right and transparent price, with a competitive Total Cost of Ownership."
When we think of comfy, long-distance road cars, there are a few obvious choices. A Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Bentley Continental GT or, assuming fuel efficiency isn't paramount, a Range Rover are all good options for a road trip. But what if that road trip was 37,000 miles? Maybe something more reliable but still comfortable, then, like a Honda Accord. What about a 1967 Datsun Roadster?
As insane as it sounds, Scott Fisher is doing just that, running a Datsun 1600 Roadster across North America and racking up 13,500 miles in his first three months on the road. His total journey will see him pile over 37,000 miles on his red convertible. The car is lightly modified, but most of the work is for the sake of reliability and comfort, with a five-speed manual 'box, an upgraded radiator and electronic ignition.
Fisher's trip hasn't been all smooth, with a few typical bits of trouble. He also ran into some deer in Utah, quite literally, clipping one of the animals, which delivered quite a bit of damage to the passenger's front fender (hence the rear three-quarter view in our lead shot). Still, the car seems to be holding up well, as shown in this latest video from Petrolicious.
The guys behind Motor Trend's monthly Roadkill series have collected nine of their favorite project cars from their videos and pitted them against each other in a battle royale to determine a winner. It's 44 minutes long, but it's completely worth the investment of time.
The cars run the gamut from a 1973 Chevrolet Ramp Truck, a 1975 AMC Pacer and a legitimately impressive 1967 Chevy Camaro, and they are pitted against each other to see which is the fastest around an autocross course. The drivers include Roadkill's two hosts and Motor Trend's Johnny Lieberman and Carlos Lago. It's reminiscent of the best episodes of Top Gear and worth a watch.
So it's the weekend - the perfect time to relax. Grab your preferred beverage, get comfortable and enjoy 44 minutes of some seriously ratty but utterly cool project cars as they are throttled within an inch of their lives (or past it). Scroll down to check out the video.
Nissan's plan for its reborn Datsun sub-brand just got a shot in the arm, as the emerging-market manufacturer has unveiled its first concept car since its resurrection back in 2012. Called the Redi-Go Concept, it looks like a high-riding version of Datsun's recently launched Go hatchback that's been fitted with a few concept car cues (not a bad thing).
The Redi-Go packs LED taillights, Datsun's "D-cut grille" and LED running lights into its Go-inspired body. Funky two-tone 15-inch wheels add a bit of cheek to the overall design, and in our minds look quite good, despite being so small. The ruggedized front and rear bumpers, as well as the sill and wheel arch surrounds add to the Redi-Go's rough-and-tumble aesthetic. We like that Datsun has kept the overall package short, giving the Redi-Go a 92.5-inch wheelbase, rather than creating a lifted version of the upcoming Go+. There are no specific mentions of the Redi-Go's mechanicals, although we'd wager that a production model might share the 1.2-liter engine and five-speed manual found in the standard Go.
While it might be easy to dismiss a concept like the Redi-Go in America, there's no denying its importance to the Indian market, which is decidedly more limited when it comes to available bodystyles. "If we were to make a car like Datsun Redi-Go Concept it would be a segment creator in India, an aspirational car that at the same time is attainable, a car that would be within reach of the first time buyer. This concept shows how serious we are about reinvigorating the market by catering for the needs of a growing class of Indians who have the chance to own a family car that will enable them to enjoy a new sense of independence," said Vincent Cobee, the global head of Datsun.
A quiet drive in the country can be the most relaxing thing in the world. What if it didn't have to end, and you could keep driving for a week, a month or even a whole year? That's what Scott Fisher is doing by taking a one-year sabbatical from work and driving his 1967 Datsun Fairlady Roadster around North America.
"I had owned a manufacturing business in Las Vegas for 16 years. I knew I needed to kinda' get out, and unwind, and get my mojo back," said Fisher.
Fisher's trip has covered over 30,000 miles through 44 states and 7 Canadian Provinces, and it is not over yet. He left from his home in Las Vegas, NV, last spring and drove to the Pacific. From there, he drove up the coast to the Canadian border and aimed the car for the Atlantic. He just posted on his blog about visiting the Nissan headquarters and museum in Franklin, TN, and his next stops are Mississippi and New Orleans, LA.